LCpl Ernest Floyd Petty was born January 17, 1948 in Cincinnati, OH, to Anna Ruth Dunsmore Pittman and Allan Eugene Pittman. His mother later married Donald Petty, who adopted Ernest, his two sisters and one brother.

Ernest was always a soldier at heart. During middle school, he joined the Civil Air Patrol for Youth, along with his oldest sister, Phyllis. Ernest excelled in everything.

Even at that young age, he was a fighter, very patriotic, and determined to “go the distance” no matter what.

On one occasion, Ernest was exploring the dense hills of Kentucky when he was attached by a Bobcat. Ernest didn’t back down and he and the cat wrestled for an extended time before the cat became tired and ran away! Proudly, Ernest pointed to the deep puncture wound between his thumb and index finger stating, “that’s my badge of courage and honor!” He was 11-years-old!

On July 5, 1967, LCpl Petty was killed in South Vietnam as a result of artillery, rocket, and mortar fire. He was overdue for rotation out, but never made it home alive. He was 19 years old.

July 5, 1967 in South Vietnam was July 4, 1967 in the United States. On the day that we celebrate our independence, Earnest Floyd Petty gave his life for his nation and our freedoms. While watching fireworks with my husband’s family, I suddenly KNEW that my precious brother, Ernie – my best friend growing up – had been killed!

I felt it deeply in my soul. Less than a week later we received the heartbreaking news that Ernest had been killed in action.

Thank you, my brave brother. We miss you and love you. Phyllis Steel Sister of LCpl Ernest Floyd Petty.


Pictured Larry Steel and Phyllis Steel. Flowers by DWF Wholesale Florist. Honor and Remember Nebraska Chapter is pleased to present this flag sponsored by Eagle Distributing to the family of LCpl Ernest Floyd Petty.

Download Fremont Tribune Article

5 July 1967

South Vietnam

Eagle Distributing
Presented: 14 June 2020
Flag #201